Friday, November 19, 2010

"I do not think you love me"

     This picture reminds me of God's love. It is the bright spot in a dark, dull world. 
Last night, my daughter and I had a discussion (what I called it) or a fight (what she called it).  It was regarding doing your best, being positive, working hard. The scolding, encouraging, threatening talk you have to give your kids every once in a while to keep them on track. 
     After we finished, I told her, "Remember two things. I love you and you are awesome."
     She looked at me like she did not believe me.  So, I asked her, "Do you believe me?"
     She said, "I do not think you love me."

    Wow, dagger to my heart. I knew this was simply a reaction to my scolding. I knew that in her heart she knew I loved her, but at that moment she was not sure. How could that be? How could she question my love? My kids are one of the most important things in my life, following God and then my husband. It upset me. Later, she said that when I scold her it feels like I do not love her. I explained how that is my job, and it is because I love her, that I scold her.

     The whole thing made me think about love and what it means. We use the word so casually these days.  Everyone loves everyone. You see it on Facebook everyday. "I love you." "Love ya'." "You are my real love." Girls "married" to their friends. Girls claiming their friends as siblings. "Love" is all over the place.

     True love is deep though. It is an emotion and a feeling. It is what God is all about. It is our responsibility to love. But how are we doing with that? Not too good. As a grown up I should really love. I should know how by now. What if I am still missing the mark? What if my efforts seem transparent? What if the love I give a kid does not seem real? That could have real impact.

     I want to love the way God loves. I want to be a bright spot in this dark world. I do not want to be God, just be more like him.

     John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

     Today I will start trying to love others as God has loved me. 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

God continues his effort

God is continuing to pull me toward writing. On Tuesday morning, I received the daily email from our writer's group regarding publications looking for articles. Low and behold there was a quilting magazine listed. Now what are the odds of that happening? A quilter who needs to write can surely come up with an article for a quilting magazine. 

So I went to the website and printed off the info. Well, guess what?  They would take inspirational quilting stories. So, I started writing a story about a young man that I made a quilt for. I usually do not make quilts for the kids I interact with. There are just too many kids and not enough time. This young man really wanted a quilt and I thought it might help him since he had lost his mother a few years prior.  So, I made him a quilt. He gave me one of his mom's shirts and I put it inside the quilt before I quilted it. Now he has his mom with him all the time.

I am not saying I will get published. I am not saying the article will even get read, but I am stepping out there to do God's calling.  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How many years are you going to wait until you write?

God is calling me to write. I know that sounds like such a cliche. I know that the stories of the quilts touching lives is important. I know that the young people I am friends with are important. I know that God can take nothing and make it into something. I know that God is working.

So many God-incidences have happened this year that it is undeniable.

1. The She Speaks Conference in North Carolina was hosted by Lysa Terkeurst. She knows my friend, Taby, who got me started making memory quilts.

2. I applied for a scholarship for the conference.  I did not win the scholarship. The entries were judged by Cec Murphy. I did not go to the She Speaks Conference because it cost too much money.

3. Through blog hopping I discovered that Cec Murphey would be in Comfort offering a writer's retreat. I signed up for the retreat. I attended part of the retreat. 

4. A friend, Liz invited me to a local writer's group. A group of Christian women who encourage each other in their writing.

5. I reviewed writing I had done from the past. I wrote part of a story in 1999. I wrote a few bits and pieces over the last ten years. Ten years? Ten years?

Finally I had to ask myself, what are you waiting for? As usual I was afraid. It reminded me of starting the Quilt Group seven years ago. I was so afraid to step out. God provided the people, the talent, the encouragement, and the ministry for the quilters. I had to be his hands and feet.

Writing is so personal though. Instead of being the hands and feet I will have to be the voice. I know my words are not important, but God's words are. I know God will provide the words. A week ago, I attended a high school basketball game. I saw an old friend. When I got home God helped me write a story about the friendship.

I will write. God will help me. I will put God's word down on paper and trust Him to see me through.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Parental Discernment

     As a parent, I like to think I know what is going on with my two daughters.

     This morning I was drinking my coffee as the girls got ready for school.  The cats were in my lap.  Malley was under the blanket and Nacho was on top trying to figure out what Malley was doing under there.

     Ashlyn called me and asked me to come back to her room.  When I walked back there, she said, "Not in here.  Come to the office."

     I followed her into the office and she said, "Can you finish typing this paper for me?  I am out of time."

     I questioned her about the paper, "What do you mean?"

     She said, "I wrote the paper for English and typed it at school, but could not save it, so I had to re-type it at home.  Please just type it and do not put in the parts that I crossed out." 

     I could tell she was starting to get stressed.  It was almost time to go the school and she was not ready.  Plus Bobby had just texted Avery and needed a ride.  Time was getting short.

     I started typing the remaining few paragraphs of the paper.  When I started reading, I was amazed at how good her writing was.  The wording was excellent and her descriptions were crisp and clear.  But then it happened - I could feel the fear and desperation from her story.

     The paper started with a prayer to God asking for courage.  She had written about the surgery she had on her foot in May of this year.  The account detailed finding out she had to have surgery, going to the hospital for the surgery, waiting, having the surgery, waking up in recovery, getting crutches, going home and the slow recovery.  She ended the paper with another prayer, asking God to help her get through the next few months with ease.

     The thing that struck me was the fear.  I had been there and I knew she was afraid, but I did not understand the depth of her fear.  How could that be?  How could I have not supported her when she needed it most?  How could I not understand what she was feeling. 

     I really felt like I had let her down.  I took her to school because Avery had to leave to get Bobby.  On the way to school I told her, "I am really sorry that I did not understand what you were going through with your surgery."

     She said, "It is ok.  I am thinking about talking to Coach and telling him I will not play basketball this year."

     Now was my chance.  I could share this moment with her, since she was opening up to me.  I said, "Can you still be a trainer?"  While going through her surgery and therapy she had mentioned being a trainer in high school and maybe becoming a physical therapist as a career. 

     She said, "Yeah, I think so."

    The long story short is that I feel like I failed understanding the depth of her fear and worry about the surgery.  Can I make it up?  No not really.  Can I do better next time?  Maybe.

    The great thing that came out of this was Ashlyn turning to God in her time of fear.  Through my failure, she grew.  She turned to God when she needed Him and that is awesome. 

Dear God,
Thank you for giving me this awesome daughter.  She is a light in my world.  Thank you for being there to support her when I fail.  Thank you for holding her hand before, during, and after the surgery.  Help me to be more aware.  Help me to not be so harsh and to encourage my daughter to share with me.  Thank you.  Amen 

Friday, October 15, 2010

God is ABLE!!

God is Able!  As I continue my current Bible Study, I have learned God is able.  Priscilla Shirer spoke about Ephesians 3:20-21 which says - 
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen. 

God is able to do for me.  I know that, but I often limit what I ask God to do.  The Bible Study focuses on how God is ABLE in a BIG way.  He can do beyond, beyond and way past, my way past.  Well this was demonstrated to be in a big way yesterday!!

In May of this year, I completed the last of six memory quilts I made for my friend, Taby and her family.  I had been on the Internet surfing and discovered a Christan Writer's Conference to be held in September of this year.  I called my friend, Taby, and told her about the conference and how I had wanted to write a book for several years about the ministries God has put into my life.  Well, Taby knew the speaker and urged me to go.  She volunteered to pay for my airplane ticket to North Carolina.  So, we met in San Antonio for the quilt pick up.  The last quilt was made for Taby's niece, Jetonna.  It contained pictures of Jetonna and her mother and was made of Jetonna'a mother's clothes.  We had a nice lunch and Taby and Jetonna both gave me money to attend the writer's conference.

Taby and me on left with Jetonna's little boy, Jetonna on right

I came back home and was filled with doubt.  I researched the Conference and plotted numerous combinations of airline tickets, lodging, rental car, etc.  The bottom line was I did not feel like I should spend THAT much money to attend the conference.  At the last minute, a scholarship was offered.  I submitted a letter and waited.  The scholarship letters were judged by Cec Murphey.  I did not win the scholarship.  I took that as a sign from God, but in reality God provided (money from Taby and Jetonna), but I balked. The conference filled up and I did not go.  I emailed Taby and let her know the time was just not right for me - I was too afraid!

Flash forward to Thursday of this week, I was blogging and adding some new blogs to my list.  I found out that my friend Alice Kolb had a blog.  Alice had encouraged me to write a book about the memory quilts.  I went to see her blog and she had Cec Murphey's blog listed on her blog!!  I went to his blog and found out he was going to be in Comfort Texas at the end of October conducting a writing retreat.  So I signed up.  

So even when I was not able to do make myself go to the original writer's conference in North Carolina, God still made it happen.  I know God wants me to write this book, but I have trouble with being obedient when I do not what steps I will have to take and if I can do it.  I know God will guide me.  I know God will open doors, but I am still afraid.

My new mantra is God is able.  He can do beyond, beyond and way past, way past.  I will keep reminding myself of that as I start down this new, scary path! 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I am forgiven forever and ever!

I am doing a Bible study, Faithful, Abundant, and True.  In my homework the other day, this lesson gave me something to think about.

From the lesson -
If you, as a child of God are moaning and groaning about your sins, about your B.C. days (before you came to know Christ), your past, what does that say to God? What does that tell you about your faith?
Jesus paid it all! You cannot pay a thing! His sacrifice was sufficient. Your sins are remembered no more by Him. Why are you remembering them? You are forgiven! I want to shout it! I AM FORGIVEN FOREVER AND EVER!

Don't you ever say, "But I cannot forgive myself!" You don't need to forgive yourself. Nothing is Biblical about your statement. It is a hiss from the serpent of old, the Devil himself, to put your focus on yourself, rather than God. You confess your sins to God, God forgives, and that is it!

My thoughts -
Why do we try to make everything so hard. God forgives us for ALL of the dumb, mean, stupid things that we did in the past, even yesterday. Why do we have so much trouble letting it go? It really made me think about it. Now that I have teenage daughters, I really remember some of the dumb things I did when I was younger. I have caught myself really regretting it. I have to keep reminding myself that God has forgiven me - Let it go.

I need to believe God - that is faith. Sometime days my faith is stronger that others. I guess I just need to "keep the faith".  God forgives me!  Praise God!!

God bless you all,

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Empty or Full?

My devotion today is Exodus 20:9-10
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work.

Quentin, Avery and Ashlyn have been gone all week on a mission trip to San Marcos. They left on Sunday morning after church. The group was very excited and could not wait to get started on house repairs. The group completed 16 houses by end of day Tuesday. Amazing!

Quentin was the site coordinator and scrambled to find more houses that needed some work. Ashlyn is still in her cast, so she went riding with Quentin, took pictures and helped wherever she could. The group made the difference for some people by making house repairs that they could not afford. They painted, repaired sheetrock, tiled floors, built handicap ramps, roofed houses. Unbelievable since they are all teenagers. God has provided them with the skills needed to assist those in real need.

They are coming home today. I am a little bit jealous. They really helped people this week. I should have gone. They are elated and sad.

Empty or Full? I think the kids are both empty and full. They are empty because they have worn themselves out this week helping others. They have made new friends both young and old. They have done the impossible all for God's glory.

I think they are also full because they have given their time to help those less fortunate. This provides a great feeling of thankfulness for their own environment. It provides satisfaction to really make a tangible difference in someone's life. It lets them know that their efforts matter and together we can make a huge impact.

Now they can come home full of God's glory and empty of energy. They will sleep (rest on the 7th day) and will be renewed to meet tomorrow with determination to do God's work.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Spiritual Rememberings

I Peter 3:15
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

This Bible verse really hit home with me. I am trying to chronologically record events where God really made his presence known. It is hard to remember specific instances after time goes by, especially since I do not journal or keep a diary.

I can remember three events from the last few days though. A few months ago, I paid a deposit for Avery, Ashlyn, and Quentin to go to the UM Army Youth Mission trip this summer with our church. The deposit was $225 (3x$75). I realized that I needed to pay the remaining balance this week, since they leave on the trip this Sunday. The total was $250 per person, so I still owed quite a bit of money. Yesterday, my friend Michelle, told me there were new prices for the trip - $125 for kids, and $75 for adults. So, now I only owed $325. Good! But Ashlyn is having second thoughts about going since she is still in her cast. If she doesn't end up going, then we are paid up, and actually overpaid by $25. Great!

The turbocell on our pool went out. They cost $450 at the pool company, but Quentin found one on-line for $200 with free shipping. Woohoo!!

The pool pump also quit working. A new pool pump is $700 plus installation!!!!! Yikes. Quentin called a local electrician, Dorman, about the pool pump. Dorman came over, took the switch apart, cleaned it, put it back together, and it worked again! We have not received Dorman's bill yet, but no matter what he charges, it will be less that $700.

How does all of this relate to God? I had prayed to God about money and helping me manage our money better. Over the next three days these events happened. I told Quentin last night after we went to bed that I had prayed about it and looked what happened.

It makes me wonder, is God always working that quickly for people? If so, why don't they see it? Do they have a specific outcome in mind and if they don't get that outcome then their prayer is not answered. For me, I try to put the issue out there for God and then let Him handle it in his way. My mind is so small that I cannot possibly think of all of the best solutions.

I am so thankful that God hears my prayers. I am thankful that I have a relationship with God that allows me to worry and complain about things. I am thankful that God has my back. It gives me a story of hope to share with people.

One last thing, my friend, Michelle, is having some female problems. Please pray for her. She will be going on the UM Army trip next week and then will have a Dr. appointment with a gynecologist on Thursday July 15. Her family practice Dr. found some abnormalities with her annual tests and has referred her to a gyno. I would appreciate your prayers.

God bless!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

God works to move us to a small town - 1999

Do you believe in signs, coincidences, God? Let me tell you a true story.

Three days before our ten-year anniversary, my husband came home and suggested maybe we should move to a smaller community. I could not believe it! I was raised in Kilgore, Texas (population 9000) and had always wanted to raise our family in a smaller place.

I got up the next morning and told him I would stay home with our two young girls if we moved. We could afford it if we got a smaller place.

I started thinking about where I would want to live. I immediately thought of Fredericksburg and the B&B, Texas Two-Step. I called Gastehaus Schmidt to get the owner, Anne’s last name. I wanted to send her a note to see if she would be interested in selling her place, even though we probably could not afford it. I also asked Gastehaus Schmidt if they knew of any guest houses or B&B’s that were for sale. They said no, but Anne is giving her place away in an essay contest.

My husband went out of town to a conference in New Orleans, which happens to be Anne’s home town. I was so excited. All of these coincidence's could not be coincidence!!!

Now how does this relate to my ten-year anniversary? On November 12, 1988, my future husband and I were spending the weekend in Fredericksburg. We went shopping and bought a wedding dress in the bridal shop (which is now “The Secret Garden”). We decided that weekend while we were in Fredericksburg to get married.

Looking back over this story ten years later it is apparent that God was working in our lives. God knew that a "coincidence" would get my attention.

First of all, we had bought a wedding dress in 1988, before we were even engaged. When I called my grandmother to tell her, she said, "When are you going to get a ring?" Quentin and I went the next day to a jewelry store in San Antonio and bought an engagement ring. This strengthened my connection to Fredericksburg.

Second, Quentin's sister and I had just gotten in a big fight about how to raise our kids. She insisted that we did not understand how the big schools worked and that your child could be labeled, good or bad, and that label would follow them throughout their school career. She was a teacher and had experienced this phenomena with students she had taught. God nudged us to consider a smaller school for our kids. The San Antonio high school had 4,000 students. The school was much too large to provide the kind of environment we wanted for our girls. It was basically a small city that allowed a lot of bad behaviors and activities to go on under the radar. Quentin suggested a small town. Those were the only words I needed to hear to get me started in a new direction.

Our favorite place to stay in Fredericksburg was Texas Two-Step. It was a gasthaus that had provided us with a lot of good memories. If we could buy it, then we could supplement Quentin's salary by running a B&B. What is an Essay contest????

Again, God pulls us in with his ingenius plan!!!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Lord looks at the heart

I Samuel 16:7
The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Have you ever just looked at someone in passing and made a judgement about them? They are old, they are poor, they are mean, they are grumpy, they are ________. When I was in 5th or 6th grade I had a friend named Valerie. I spent a lot of time at her house playing. One day she wanted to go visit a young couple that lived next door. I told I did not want to go because they were mean. I did not know them and had never even met them. She tried to reason with me but i prevailed. Eventually on another visit to her house we went next door so I could meet the young couple. Imagine - they were nice.

I do not know where I got that idea or why I said those words. I do know that the trait has followed me my whole life. I immediately jump to conclusions when I see people - whether I know them or not. I have tried over and over to change the habit, but I still struggle with it everyday.

God looks at our heart. Why do I have so much trouble doing that? I know, I am human and God is God after all, but still. Why can't I see the good in people? Why am I always looking for a flaw? Maybe it allows me to be bigger and better than someone else for a few moments. Writing those words makes me sad. Am I so insecure that I must "belittle someone else's existence?"

God has insights we do not have. He knows every hair on every head. God sees my flaws and accepts me anyway. He not only accepts me, He LOVES me. Sometimes I wonder how that can be.

Dear Lord,
I lift up my life to you and ask for your guidance. I am soooooo human. Provide me with a positive view of people. Help me to be the person you want me to be.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quilting in a small town

I moved to a small town about 10 years ago. My husband recommended that I join in some local groups to meet people. I found out about the quilt guild and decided to join. The quilt guild is called Vereins Quilt Guild to reflect the German Heritage.

I attended a meeting and joined the group. I had been quilting for about 3 years, so I was a pretty new quilter compared to most of the members. I remember wishing I was 40 years old, so I would not seem "so young" to all of the other members. The guild meetings consisted of a business meeting, "show and share", and then a speaker who would follow with a program.

"Show and Share" gave me a chance to get up in front of other quilters and show my work. This was a new step for me. In the corporate world, I had presented info in front of groups of a 1000, but the information was not personal. At quilt guild, we would stand on the table, and show our quilts. The other quilters would "oooo and awwww" at your project. Sometimes I would get questions about the piecing or quilting designs. It was a really good way to receive positive encouragement.

I eventually became the treasurer of the guild. I modernized all of the books by putting them on Quickbooks. I held this position for 1 year. The new treasurer put all of the books back in the paper format. It was disappointing to me since I thought the computerized version was the way to go. I think I was sort of a fish out of water. I was young with new ideas, and I was trying to fit in with a group of older women who had definite ideas about how things should be done.

I helped with the quilt show that were produced every two years. Eventually, jealousy set in. The quilts I entered in the quilt show won numerous prizes, but I heard grumbling about my work. I was working at the local quilt shop and it was said that the quilt show should have been called the "quilt shop" quilt show. It was implied that was the employees at the quilt show were the ones who won the prizes at the quilt show. I decided to withdraw from the quilt guild.

Fo me,it was never about winning a prize or making someone else look bad. Quilting was a gift from God. I decided I wanted to use my gift to glorify God.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Blog

I want to write a book relating the experiences I have had when I pay attention to God's intentions for me. I would like to talk about moving to a small town, quilting as a ministry, youth and the impacts they have had on me.